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Kumbh ban: Tanneries facing huge losses

Over 400 tanneries have been ordered shut to ensure that Ganga river stays pollution free for the Maha Kumbh Mela.

Kanpur: Over 400 tanneries which have been ordered shut to ensure that Ganga river stays pollution free for the Maha Kumbh Mela are facing losses of up to Rs 1,000 crore, according to industry insiders.

RK Jalan, the chairman of the Council for Leather Experts, told a news agency that more than three dozen overseas orders placed with leather manufacturers in the area have had to be cancelled in view of the prohibition enforced by the district administration.

Office-bearers of the UP Leather Industries` Association said that workers employed at these tanneries, too, have been severely impacted after being without any source of income.

It is learnt that almost the entire workforce at these tanneries is composed of those belonging to the Dalit community along with some members of the minority communities.

It may be recalled that in the first phase, tanneries were required to effectively suspend operations from January 11 till February 13. They have also been advised to desist from pumping effluents into the Ganga between February 22 and 24 and then between March 06 and 09.

"We have kept production on hold at our units out of respect for the country`s culture and the people`s religious sentiments. But the biggest concern is those daily wager earners and their families as the ban has put a question mark over their livelihood," said Imran Siddiqui, the director of a local tannery.

Jalan said that leather goods produced for export in the Kanpur area were mostly shipped to countries in Europe, North and South America and Africa and added that those orders would now go to Agra and Chennai while the Kumbh ban stays in place.

"We had written to both the central and state governments requesting some arrangement which would have allowed us to carry on with operations. However, we received no reply to those letters and are now awaiting further instructions from the authorities after halting production," Jalan said.